European Energy Union: Integration of markets and need for in-house energy production

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Energy Union, participated in the EP plenary session, in the presence of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC. It was there where he presented his strategy for the EU Energy Union. (EC Audiovisual Services, 27/02/2015)

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Energy Union, participated in the EP plenary session, in the presence of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC. It was there where he presented his strategy for the EU Energy Union. (EC Audiovisual Services, 25/02/2015)

The European Commission (EC) official convened in Brussels two days ago to discuss and decide about the crucial matter of the European Energy Union. The strategy of the implementation of this Union was presented and according to Maros Šefčovič, vice-president of the EC, would be “the biggest energy project since the Coal and Steel Community”.

However, even if this sounds very promising, it has been under discussions for over a decade now. It is very difficult, not to say impossible, to coordinate and create such a Union if there is no cooperation from all the EU member states.

The Ukranian crisis has forced the EU to search for alternative solutions regarding energy sources. Is it in the EU’s intentions to cause further economic problems to Russia by not relying to the latter’s energy sources or is it just one of the five priorities that Jean-Claude Juncker set when became president of the EC? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. But the main issue that needs to be addressed here is the reason that the EU rely so much on energy imports and doesn’t increase its primary production.

Energy Union package

The officials of the EC were very delighted and eager to announce the decision of a strategic framework for the Energy Union. The second priority in Juncker’s plan seems that is starting to materialise just now. More specifically, Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission President, had said: “For too long, energy has been exempt from the fundamental freedoms of our Union. Current events show the stakes – as many Europeans fear they may not have the energy needed to heat their homes. This is about Europe acting together, for the long term. I want the energy that underpins our economy to be resilient, reliable, secure and growingly renewable and sustainable.”

What is more, Maroš Šefčovič, Commission’s Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union mentioned that: “this project will integrate our 28 European energy markets into one Energy Union, make Europe less energy dependent and give the predictability that investors so badly need to create jobs and growth.” Thus it is clear that Juncker’s Commission is more than determined to make this Union happen as soon as possible in order to ameliorate Europe’s position in the Energy arena.

Difficulties of Union’s integration

The good will of the EC to create an Energy Union may be though undermined by some national governments which will oppose to such unification. Countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, and the Baltic states which fully depend on Russian supplies are most likely not going to support this project. Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian Prime Minister, has already made his intentions clear that will not let the EC “play” with the country’s energy policy. Russia is surely going to pressure governments to put obstacles in the formation of this Union in order to keep its interests (through the Russian energy giant Gazprom) in the European market. Furthermore, the fact that there are German energy firms which have signed “big” contracts with Gazprom should also be taken into consideration.

Nevertheless, the EC seems determined to fight the lobbies, which may be created by large corporations or countries, in order to bring a more secure and competitive energy which will be distributed within the bloc according to its member states’ needs and to be mainly supplied by Russia.

Increase domestic energy production

Europe, apart from the creation of the Energy Union, should also focus on the increase of the production of its primary energy. This lies on the fact that even if this Union is created we will still have to import, maybe not from Russia but some other non-EU country, substantial quantities of energy (e.g. Azerbaijan etc). The solution to the whole energy issue is a combination of these two pillars: Energy Union and increase of domestic energy production.

Nevertheless, the data that Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, has published regarding EU’s total primary energy production for the decade between 2002 and 2012 are not promising, showing a substantial decrease of 15.7%. The main reasons behind this downfall may be attributed to the lack of raw materials and the fact that the production of limited natural resources is unprofitable. Whatever the reason, the point here is that Europe’s production is dropping and thus more imports are needed to cover the energy demands.

Thus, EU-28’s imports are equally experiencing an increase of 7% from 2002 to 2012 but are decreasing from the financial crisis of 2008 and on. The countries with the highest import share (in 2012 terms) are: Germany, Italy, France, Spain and UK. Even if the imports from another non-EU country have dropped by 9% since 2008, Europe depends on them by 53.4% of its total energy consumption.

Hence, the EU is mainly importing primary energy from few specific countries which makes the Old Continent to be highly energy dependent. Russia, Columbia and the United States provide the majority of solid fuels with Russia being the main supplier. Crude oil and natural gas are also mainly supplied by Russia which is followed by Norway.

Consequently, it is clear that the European Union is largely depending on Russia for energy imports which makes its detachment from it or low reliance on it as energy provider quite difficult if such action is required for the creation of the Energy Union. Nevertheless, an Energy Union is highly needed and Juncker’s Commission seems decided to cut red tape and bring all the members states together in this energy reform.

The European Union needs an energy single market yesterday and it is rather positive that the first step has been made at the beginning of 2015.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

‘Starvation’ now a reality for displaced Syrians stranded in camp near Jordanian border

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

COVID-19 has disrupted cybersecurity, too – here’s how businesses can decrease their risk

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

iSting: a reader’s thoughts on the UN Environment Assembly 2017

Berlin and Paris pursue the financial fragmentation of Eurozone

Fisheries: Commission proposes measures to conserve stocks of deep-sea species in the North-East Atlantic

Safe drinking water, sanitation, are ‘basic human rights’: new UN Water Development report

France breaks budget promises once again and the EU’s finance offices are shaking

“We need to use the momentum globally to ensure that corporations pay their fare share of taxation”, EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis outlines from the World Economic Forum 2017.

Central Africa Republic: Violence drives thousands of refugees into neighbouring DR Congo, says UN agency

The Mental Health Hero in You

How civil society can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Mother of all mergers between Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram: EU Data Privacy restrictions against Facebook’s imperialistic plans

UN working ‘intensively’ to stop Ebola in eastern DR Congo, following second case in major border town

UN court increases sentence of former Bosnian-Serb leader to life imprisonment

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

The importance of exchanges for the medical students of the world

Malaria: Focus on pregnant women and children, stresses UN health agency report

EU Commission challenges Berlin by proposing breakthrough legislation on banks

Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

This South Korean city once had the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. Now it’s reported zero new cases

How each country’s share of global CO2 emissions changes over time

Maintaining mental health is as important as avoiding COVID-19

Worldwide terror attacks have fallen for the third year in a row

FROM THE FIELD: ‘A piece of me’ was taken

Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action’

JADE @ European Business Summit 2014: Youth Unemployment – a drive to Entrepreneurship

Why exporters need to mind the trade finance gap

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

Sweden is fighting loneliness by housing older and younger generations together

Reform of road use charges to spur cleaner transport and ensure fairness

GSMA outlines new developments for Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018

Multilateralism must weather ‘challenges of today and tomorrow’ Guterres tells Paris Peace Forum

‘Good enough’ global cooperation is key to our survival

We must learn and change after Haiti sexual abuse scandal -Oxfam chief

Repression, use of force risk worsening Bolivia crisis: UN human rights chief

EU to gain the most from the agreement with Iran

Reinforcing EU border security: Visa-exempt travelers will be pre-screened

Amazon fires: Health Effects, Near and Far

EU Commission: Growth first then fiscal consolidation

Five-year low inflation for Eurozone and now Mario has to finally wake up the Germans

Tech must embrace teamwork to transform the world

Global health challenges require global medical students

If you live in a big city you already smoke every day

COVID-19 tracing apps: MEPs stress the need to preserve citizens’ privacy

Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italians, labelling food system exploitative

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe needs decisive progress for stronger cybersecurity”, EU Commissioner Gabriel highlights from Brussels

Could Europe become the first climate-neutral continent?

Coronavirus: additional ventilators dispatched to Czechia via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism

Portugal can use its economic recovery to build up resilience

UN health experts warn ‘dramatic resurgence’ of measles continues to threaten the European region

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

UN chief saddened at news of death of former US President George H.W. Bush

Are e-cigarettes as safe as they claim to be?

Tax Inspectors Without Borders making significant progress toward strengthening developing countries’ ability to effectively tax multinational enterprises

Environmentalists have removed nearly 40 tonnes of trash from the Pacific

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s